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There is nothing like a name

Email and website addresses are becoming essential marketing tools for

IFAs. Internet experts say say an internet domain name will soon be as

important to an IFA as a phone number and getting the right name is

essential.

The Goodfellow Group managing director Simon Burgess says: “Domain names

and email addresses are massively important marketing tools for IFAs. Your

company name is your brand, so you must get your web domain and email

address right. Who would want to take advice from a firm who cannot even

get their branding right?”

But IFAs need to act quickly as the best names and addresses are being snapped up and, when it comes to addresses, it seems even the server you use can say something about you.

IFAs say if you want your company to appear professional, you should avoid

using free email addresses. But experts say this is an outdated bias and it

is perfectly acceptable to use Hotmail addresses and Freeserve accounts.

Mike Scott, author of the Online Guide to Investing, says: “There is

absolutely no reason why IFAs should not use Hotmail accounts. They are

practical as they can be accessed from any computer in the world and are

used by many professionals.”

Domain addresses are big news. But many IFAs are unable to register the

name they would like as sites are being bought by people looking to sell

them for a profit. Potential addresses such as best adviceonline.co.uk and

bestifa.co.uk have already been bought. But are these the sort of email

addresses IFAs should be going for in the first place? Is it not more

important to register the name of your firm in the address?

Chase de Vere Investments investment director Janine Starks says: “We own

chasedevere.co.uk but we also own lastminuteisa.com. The name

Chase de Vere does not mean a lot to people who have not heard of us but

are looking on the net to put their money in an Isa. The name lastminuteisa

means a lot.”

Bridgewater Financial Planning managing director Chris Wicks says it is

only for specific marketing purposes that names such as thebestifa are

useful. He says: “It is not important to have an address like this unless

it is has a direct-marketing aim. It does not matter for our clients as we

tell them our addresses. But if we were trying to be the last name in

mortgages, I suppose an address like thebestmortgage advice would be

useful.”

However, using your company&#39s name in your email and web address is vital,

say marketing experts. They say IFAs should exploit the marketing potential

of email addresses and domain names.

Registering the company&#39s name as an email address and domain name also

makes it easier for clients to remember the add resses or to be able to

work them out for themselves, say IFAs.

Berry Birch & Noble marketing executive Elaine Harvey says: “We use the

company name in our email and our web addresses. It makes it easy for

clients to remember them.”

Starks says: “We all have our first name, last name and company name as

our email addresses. It seems obvious and clients can pretty much guess our

addresses even if they have not been given them. It is also important to

have simple addresses. Dots and dashes are confusing.”

Some IFAs say email addresses portray an image of a company and it is

vital to have an address with your own domain name and avoid free email

addresses.

IFAs say using free email services such as Hotmail and Freeserve can make

their company seem smaller, less professional and even less reliable. But

internet experts say email accounts such as these have many advantages.

Scott says: “Hotmail accounts, for example, mean you can be independent

and you can access your messages from anywhere in the world. The catch to

being attached to a server is that you are then tied to it. If you want to

change your server, you have to then change your email address as you do

not own it in the same way. Many professionals use these accounts as they

are reliable and flexible.”

However, many IFAs are resisting free email addresses, saying they can

damage the image of the firm. Wentworth Rose managing director Philip Rose

says: “We are a serious business and want to come across as such. Using

accounts such as Freeserve on someone else&#39s server would make us look

small. It could give clients the impression they are dealing with someone

working from their bedroom above a garage.”

Burgess says: “Under absolutely no circumstances should IFAs use free

email addresses. They look cheap, shoddy and you are promoting another

brand such as Hotmail by using them rather than your own.”

Portraying the right image is important if you want people to read your

emails in the first place, says Wicks.

He says: “There is an awful lot of junk email about and people can receive

hundreds of messages every day, so if you want your message to be read,

having the name of your company in the address can help.”

Burgess says it is essential that IFAs use their company name as it is

their intellectual property and needs to be protected.

He says: “Domain names and email addresses are massively important

marketing opportunities for IFAs. They absolutely must protect their

company name as it is their brand name. This means it is their intellectual

property and must be registered as their email address and domain name.”

Intelligent Pensions managing director Steve Patterson says IFAs must act

quickly to avoid frustration and disappointment.

He says: “My firm browsed for possible domain names and then made our

decision. But by the time we came to register two addresses only a week

later, they had both been snapped up by some one else.”

Burgess says: “Many prestigious IFAs cannot now register their name as it

has already been bought. Once an IFA has dec ided on a name, the message is

to act quickly and act now.”

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